HARARE, (Xinhua) — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has resigned. His resignation was announced Tuesday by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda during a joint sitting of Senate and National Assembly that was debating his impeachment motion.
In his resignation letter Mugabe said: “I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of Section 96 sub section 1 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation as the President of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.”
He continued: “My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern with the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transition of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.”
Mudenda immediately announced suspension of debate and said he will immediately put in place proper legal processes to install a new country president no later than end of Wednesday.
The resignation came two days after the ruling Zanu-PF party deposed Mugabe as leader, and also recalled him from government over a litany of charges.
The party had given Mugabe until mid-day on Monday to resign, but he ignored the deadline, prompting Zanu-PF legislators on Tuesday to start parliamentary impeachment proceedings against him.
However, as the impeachment proceedings got underway, Mugabe abruptly resigned, ending almost four decades of near total dominance of Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
Zimbabwe Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa persuaded Mugabe to resign and said he will not return to Zimbabwe until he is satisfied that his personal security is guaranteed.
In a press statement released on Tuesday morning, Mnangagwa confirmed that he had spoken with Mugabe Monday. He called on Mugabe to resign in line with the wishes of the people who demanded his resignation as they demonstrated at the weekend in support of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) who took over government operations last Tuesday.
He said he had told Mugabe that the current political and constitutional crisis in the country was not a matter between the two of them but between the people of Zimbabwe and Mugabe.
“The people of Zimbabwe have clearly spoken on this matter. To me the voice of the people is the voice of God and their lack of trust and confidence in the leadership of President Mugabe has been expressed.
“The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call by the people of Zimbabwe to resign so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” he said.
He said he had told Mugabe that he had two options: either cooperate with the defense forces for a peaceful resolution to the crisis which would result in the preservation of his legacy or continue to dig in and suffer humiliation because definitely the will of the people would prevail against one person.
In neighboring country South Africa, traffic reportedly came to a standstill in its largest city Johannesburg on Tuesday as thousands of Zimbabweans went to the streets to celebrate following the resignation of their President Robert Mugabe.
A 30 year old teacher Yeukai Shumba said she loves the former president Mugabe, however, Mugabe made a mistake by allowing his wife to control him.
“We need change in our country. We have been struggling for so long… Definitely, I would go back home. I love my country, I am proudly a Zimbabwean. I know things won’t change overnight but I would like to see more jobs for our youths. I would also want to see improvement in our health sector and our education must be affordable to all people,” she said.
Another Zimbabwean teacher, based in Johannesburg, Sylvester Simanga Dube, welcomed Mugabe’s resignation. He said many Zimbabweans are homesick having been in the foreign lands for years.
“Well I don’t mind who comes in as president but there are signs that we are going to have a fresh promising restart. The new leader must work on economic revival and must have an appealing voice to the international community,” he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Zimbabwean state media New Ziana reported that South African President Jacob Zuma and his Angolan counterpart Joao Lourenco will travel to Zimbabwe on Wednesday to assess the political situation in the country.